But violations down significantly from 1996 general election Police will question about 800 campaign workers on suspicion of buying votes and other violations of the Public Offices Election Law after polls close for the Lower House elections tonight, the National Police Agency said Saturday.

They will search about 200 locations, including campaign offices and residences all over Japan, agency sources said.

However, the number of suspicious cases was about 200, or 100 less than in the previous election in October 1996, they said, adding that number of total suspects has been halved.

As of Friday, the number of warnings issued — mainly about posters in undesignated locations — declined sharply to 3,909 from 6,978 in the last election.

They attributed the decline to the fact that the 1996 election was held nine months before the Lower House term expired, meaning that campaign offices had not begun removing posters from undesignated areas before the campaign started.

The sources also said police issued their first-ever warning to a party about its Web site, which invited people to meet a candidate before the campaign was launched June 13.

The precampaign period activity is in violation of the election law.

Loud noise no excuse

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) Kanagawa Prefectural Police arrested a 17-year-old boy Saturday for allegedly breaking a window of a campaign car.

The boy, a welder from Yokohama, was arrested for violating the Public Offices and Election Law.

According to police, at around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the boy and three friends, started circling the campaign car with their motorcycles. After they made the car stop, they reportedly smashed the window with a stone.

The boy reportedly told police that he was annoyed by the loud speaker on the campaign car.